Race Weekend Central

Jimmie Johnson Wins the Pole for the Coca-Cola 600

Knockout qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway saw a few different storylines unfold. In the end it was Jimmie Johnson who wrote the best fairy tale, as he put the No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet on the pole for the 55th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon are tied for the most poles at Charlotte, among active drivers, and neither of them made it out of the first round of qualifying. Danica Patrick turned the fastest lap on a 1.5 mile track ever by a woman in a stock car at 194.595 mph to log the fastest lap in the second round of qualifying.

Johnson’s pole was his 33rd of his career in 447 starts. That ties him with Fonty Flock for 20th on the all-time pole list for the Cup series. It is his fourth at Charlotte Motor Speedway which puts him alone in third on the active driver list at the speedway. Johnson has won twice from the pole at Charlotte and is the only driver to win from the pole, at the track, this century. Hendrick Motor Sports has four wins from the pole since 1982 and is the only organization to accomplish that feat during that time frame.

Brad Keselowski will roll off second on Sunday for the 600. It is his seventh front row start of the season and his sixth from the outside pole. This is Keselowski’s second front row start in 10 career races. Kasey Kahne will be starting inside row two for the first time this season. This is Kahne’s fifth Top 3 start at Charlotte in 21 career races.

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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